Help Monarch butterflies by saving milkweed pods

Keep the world colorful by helping to save the Monarch butterfly.

Keep the world colorful by helping to save the Monarch butterfly.

The Monarch butterfly is in trouble.

Each year, fewer of the species survive its storied migration from our neighborhood to their winter home in southern California and Mexico.

Experts are concerned that, if the trend isn’t reversed, the species may become extinct and our world will become poorer for it.

But there is something you can do—yes, you, personally.

You can help us collect common milkweed seed pods.

As you may know, Monarch caterpillars eat the milkweed plant. In fact, it’s the only thing they eat. Without it, they would go extinct.

So the experts from the Ohio Pollinator Habitat Initiative are collecting as many seed pods as they can, so we can establish new plantings and create additional habitat for the Monarch butterfly throughout Ohio.

Our Main Branch at 8215 Mentor Ave. in Mentor is one of the seed-pod collection sites, along with Penitentiary Glen in Kirtland and the Lake County Soil and Water Conservation District in Painesville.

So here’s what you do:

Find the ripe common milkweed seed pods and bring them to us. We, in turn, will make sure they get to the people who will plant them.

But what do the seed pods look like?

Like this.Milkweed4043

There are also more photos of seed pods available in this handy flyer the OPHI made.

The ripe pods should be brown or gray.

The OPHI says:

If the center seam pops with gentle pressure, they can be picked.

It is best to collect pods into paper bags or paper grocery sacks. Avoid using plastic bags because they can attract moisture and allow mold to develop.

Store seeds in a cool, dry area until you can deliver to the closest pod collection area. It is recommended to wear disposable gloves when picking and handling pods. Harvesting seed pods from milkweed plants will not have any effect on the population of milkweed in established areas.

Please place the pods you collect in a brown paper bag. Then label the bag with the:

  1. type of milkweed
  2. county and area grown
  3. date and time picked.

We’ll be collecting seed pods until Oct. 30.

Help us keep our world colorful and protect the Monarch butterfly.

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